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Earthquake Risks Higher Than Once Believed For Many Cities: USGS

New science shows 16 states atop geologic hot spots that carry larger threats than once believed for heavy earthquakes, a new report shows.

Live in Las Vegas, Seattle or Charleston, South Carolina? New science shows those areas are among many geologic hot spots with greater threats for heavier earthquakes than once believed. An updated seismic hazard map released Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey lists 16 states with a “relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking.” They are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

USGS officials cite more data and updated earthquake models for the fresh projections. The East Coast has potential for more damaging earthquakes than formerly thought. For example, estimates of quake hazards near Charleston have increased, USGS reports. Similarly, the New Madrid Seismic Zone -- which spans pieces of Midwestern and southern states –- is believed to have a greater potential for harder quakes. And the temblor risk also is now considered higher for Las Vegas. Atop the Cascadia Subduction Zone -– where a quake could impact Seattle and Portland, Oregon -– new science forecasts a possible future 9.3 magnitude quake.

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— Bill Briggs, NBC News